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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Enjoying Christmas festivities in city

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:23 am

Many of the city’s entertainment venues are busy these days, offering exciting activities and entertainment programs in order to make your Christmas experience more enjoyable.

Streets in is decked out with colorful lights and Christmas decorations. (Photo: Sggp)

Ho Chi Minh City is ‘decked out’ with colorful lights and Christmas decorations. Streets are very crowded with locals and tourists enjoying Christmas.

A concert entitled ‘Colors of the winter night’ featuring Christmas songs will be performed in Ho Chi Minh City Youth’s Cultural House on December 25.

Furthermore, ‘Winter night-happy new year’, is an activity for children taking place at HCM City Children’s House on December 24. The program includes a music performance, a winter fair, a masquerade and a circus.

The Idecaf Theater will present a new drama play entitled ‘Lucky genie’.

The Dam Sen Cultural Park will lure visitors with musical performances, comedies and puppetries.

The highlight will be a concert entitled ‘Gala Xmas 2010’ featuring the pop star Dam Vinh Hung. This will bring a happy and enjoyable time to all music lovers. In addition, a special music show welcoming in the New Year for 2011, will take place on December 31.

The ‘Red Lotus 2011’ hip-hop competition is expected to attract large amounts of young people on January 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, Le Quy Duong Company will cooperate with the ‘Beloved heart club’ of the Ho Chi Minh City Youth’s Cultural House, to offer gifts and scholarships to disadvantaged students from Thanh Tung Primary School. The school is in Dinh Quan District, Dong Nai Province and the event will take place on December 25.

Source: SGGP

Pope talks of God’s ‘surprises’ in Christmas message

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 5:56 am

Pope Benedict XVI will say that God is faithful to his promises but often surprises us by how he fulfils them, in a message for for BBC radio’s “Thought for the Day” to be broadcast later Friday.

In a special event to mark Christmas Eve, Benedict recorded the message in Rome on Wednesday and his comments will go out in the slot during the corporation’s flagship Today programme at 0745 GMT.

“I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season,” the pope says in the broadcast, excerpts of which were carried on the BBC’s website.

Handout picture from the BBC shows a picture released by The Vatican press ofiice of Pope Benedict XVI recording a message for BBC radio’s Thought for the Day programme

The pontiff is quoted as saying that Christmas recalls the time in history when the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah, whom they pictured as a great leader who would restore their freedom.

But God surprised them because it was Jesus, a child born in Bethlehem, who would become their saviour instead.

The broadcast comes three months after the 83-year-old Benedict visited Britain.

In the message, listeners will hear the pope say: “I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.”

Source: SGGP

Europe airports fight to clear Christmas backlog

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

LONDON, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – European airports fought to clear a backlog of thousands of stranded Christmas travellers on Wednesday as arctic conditions gripped the continent and sparked fresh delays and cancellations.

Weary passengers faced another day stuck in terminals amid fresh snowfalls and continued freezing temperatures which have hit airports in Britain, Germany, France and Ireland.

People skate on a rink in the western German city of Essen on December 21, 2010. AFP

Britain has offered to send in troops to end the disruption at London Heathrow, while Frankfurt and Dublin airports faced severe disruption.

Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic supervisory body, said about 3,000 flights had been cancelled across Europe on Tuesday, with similar numbers of cancellations for each of the past four days.

The cold snap chaos also hit Europe’s rail network with long queues snaking outside the London terminal for the Eurostar train link between Britain, France and Belgium.

There was a glimmer of hope for angry passengers who have spent four nights sleeping under foil blankets at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, as its second runway reopened late Tuesday.

But the huge backlog at one of the busiest times of year meant services will not immediately return to normal, and the airport planned to run about two-thirds of flights Wednesday.

“It is good news to see aircraft taking off and landing from two runways,” Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA told Sky News.

“But it’s really important that passengers understand that doesn’t mean the full schedule is going to be restored instantly.”

Airport officials were under increasing pressure to resolve the crisis Wednesday after the EU lashed out at the “unacceptable” disruption caused by the heavy snows.

“I am extremely concerned about the level of disruption to travel across Europe caused by severe snow. It is unacceptable and should not happen again,” European transport commissioner Siim Kallas said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had offered to use the military to help BAA resolve the crisis at Heathrow, but this offer was refused.

“The people stuck there are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely,” Cameron told a press conference.

Anger was meanwhile mounting among passengers queuing in the cold outside the terminal buildings at Heathrow.

“I think this hurts the reputation of the whole country. The airport is the first experience you have and this is not a good experience,” Gustaf Malmstrom, 23, told AFP as he tried for a fifth day to get a flight to Stockholm.

Most of Heathrow’s five terminals were only letting in people who were flying on Tuesday morning, mainly on flights to Asia, while others had to queue outside. Workers handed out silver foil blankets and set up two heated tents.

Eurostar said it was running a restricted service and asked all customers booked to travel before Christmas to refund or exchange their tickets free of charge if their journey was not essential.

The queue of passengers stretched for more than a kilometre around the imposing St Pancras station, and Eurostar warned the chaos looked set to continue.

“It’s too early at the moment to say when we will get back to normal,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

In Germany fresh snowfall caused gridlock at the country’s main airport Frankfurt with no flights taking off or landing for around three and a half hours in the morning.

Many internal flights were cancelled because of the arctic conditions, prompting German train company Deutsche Bahn to announce additional services on major routes across the country to help stranded travellers.

Dublin airport grounded all flights until 0800 GMT on Wednesday after Ireland was hit by more than 15 centimetres (six inches) of snow.

In France authorities allowed the two main airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, to remain open around the clock to clear the backlog of delayed flights.

Source: SGGP

Northern weather very cold for Christmas day

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:37 am

A new cold front is set to slam into northern Vietnam on December 24 causing the weather to turn extremely cold, together with rain and drizzle.

People streamed into Ho Chi Minh City’s at night to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. The city’s weather will be warm until Christmas, but turn cold during the following days (Photo: SGGP)

The National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center said that after affecting the north, the system will move south into central and southern provinces.

It is forecast to rather warm until Christmas night in the southern region. However, after December 25, the cold front will make things much colder.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the temperature might drop to 18-20 degrees Celsius at night.   

Meanwhile, the cold front, covering the country in the last week has receded. As a result, temperatures will gradually increase in the central and northern regions in the next two to three days.

Cold weather will only occur during the early morning and at night, rain and frost will affect road visibility for drivers.

Source: SGGP

Christmas chaos as snow snarls European travel

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

Thousands of angry travellers struggled Monday to get home for Christmas as snow and ice caused fresh chaos at European airports and paralysed roads and railways across the frozen continent.

International hubs London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels tried to clear a backlog of passengers forced to sleep on terminal floors for up to three days as they sought to reach their destinations by the end of the week.

Authorities in Frankfurt sent in clowns in a bid to cheer up travellers, but fury mounted in Britain, especially at Heathrow where severe disruption reigned despite the last major snowfall having been on Saturday.

Pedestrians walk on a snow-covered Pont des Arts towards the Louvre Museum in Paris, as heavy snow disrupts the Christmas holiday getaway in Europe, forcing the continent’s biggest airports to close

“I am ashamed to be British,” Marian Perkins, 65, who was hoping to fly to Australia to see her new grandson for the first time, told AFP.

“It’s disgusting. We are here in the cold with the same clothes since Friday, because we don’t carry winter clothes when we go to Australia,” she said.

Heathrow’s Terminal 3 had been turned into a makeshift camp with exhausted passengers crashed out on temporary mattresses as money and patience wore thin at the world’s busiest international airport.

American musician Giovanni Bet, 22, who was trying to get back to Chicago after a tour, said: “We were here last night. It was like a shanty camp with people sleeping on the floor.”

The airport warned travellers to anticipate chaos “potentially beyond Christmas Day”. It cut flights to a third until 0600 GMT Wednesday in a bid to get diverted jets and crew back to their normal positions.

British Airways meanwhile asked passengers travelling to or from Heathrow up until December 24 to switch their flight to another date or cancel it in return for a refund.

As Britain was hit by more heavy snow and temperatures plummeted again, London’s Gatwick airport announced it was grounding all flights until early Tuesday.

“Sorry. No outbound flights from Gatwick until 6am [0600 GMT] Tuesday 21st December because of heavy snow,” the airport said on microblogging site Twitter.

Amid mounting criticism of the travel chaos, British airport operator BAA defended its handling of the crisis.

Chief executive Colin Matthews said Heathrow had to bring in earthmoving equipment and 50 trucks to remove the snow. “I cannot remember in my lifetime any episode of cold and snow remotely like today,” he said.

Eurostar, which operates high-speed passenger trains linking London with Paris and Brussels, also faced chaos.

Five-hour queues stretched around the block in freezing weather from London’s St Pancras station as Eurostar cancelled some services and operated speed restrictions on trains that did run, nearly doubling some journey times.

“We started queuing yesterday, we were here until seven o’clock and then… we took a hotel and now we have been waiting for an hour already today,” Anne-Sophie Prevost, a 24-year-old bank worker from France, told AFP.

A brass band played at the station in an attempt to provide some Christmas spirit inside the imposing Gothic station.

Temperatures reached a record low in Northern Ireland, hitting minus 17.6 degrees Celsius (0.3 degrees Fahrenheit).

There were fresh snowfalls in France, hitting both Paris international airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, where three out of 10 flights were cancelled Monday.

Air traffic at all airports in the Paris region is very disrupted,” the civil aviation authority said.

At Charles de Gaulle, 3,000 people were forced to spend Sunday night in the terminals after 40 percent of flights were scrapped.

Late Monday, 100 soldiers were sent to the airport with 300 beds and 2,500 blankets as stranded travellers faced another night camped in terminals, local authorities said.

Authorities banned heavy trucks from the roads around Paris and many buses were cancelled in the region, the RATP Paris transport network said.

French railway operator SNCF handed out 12,000 ready meals and booked 500 hotel rooms in Paris for stranded passengers but said services were expected to be mostly back to normal for Christmas.

Frankfurt airport, Germany’s busiest, resorted to clowns to keep stranded children entertained — after the police were sent in, according to press reports, to calm some angry passengers.

The airport scrapped around 340 flights Monday — mainly because others airports around Europe were closed — after more than a thousand travellers spent the night on camp beds.

There was also disruption at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport and Brussels airport Monday.

In Italy, the bodies of two homeless people were found Monday, likely victims of the cold.

Source: SGGP

Christmas festival for orphaned and disabled children

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:27 am

Christmas festival for orphaned and disabled children

QĐND – Monday, December 20, 2010, 21:49 (GMT+7)

The Association for Protecting Children’s Rights and the Cub for Community held an annual Christmas festival for orphaned and disabled children in Dam Sen Water-Park, HCM City on December 19.

The festival attracted about 1,000 attendees, 400of whom were orphaned and disabled children from HCM City and Binh Duong province. Many well-known singers and artists were involved the event.

Children had the opportunity to express their talent at games, music, kung fu and circus performances and wrote letters to Santa Claus. They also received gifts and scholarships from the benefactors.

“We hoped all the participants would share their love with the orphaned and disabled children” said Nguyen Tuan Khoi, director of the Club for Community in HCM City.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Cultural activities to celebrate the Christmas Seasons

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:54 am

Many of the city’s entertainment venues are busy these days, offering exciting activities and entertainment programs for locals and tourists centered on the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

A play is performed by the Ho Chi Minh City Drama Theater.

Dam Sen Cultural Park hopes to lure visitors with its musical performances, comedies and puppetries during this Christmas holiday. The highlight of this period will be a concert entitled “Gala Xmas 2010” featuring the famous pop star Dam Vinh Hung, bringing some Christmas joy to music lovers.

In addition, a special art performance themed “Colors of the winter” will be held at the Ho Chi Minh City Labor Culture Palace on December 25.

Additionally, The Idecaf Theater will present a children’s dance and music performance entitled “Fairy stories”. It is the drama of the adventures of the Monkey God in the classic Chinese novel “The journey to the West”. It is at the Ben Thanh Theater from December 17 to January 2.

Another play to be performed will be held at the Ho Chi Minh City Drama Theater. It will be on the relationship between family members and the issues it can entail. These are some of the choices this Christmas season.

Source: SGGP

Prices of overseas tours soar up during Christmas holidays

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

Prices of overseas tours soar up during Christmas holidays

QĐND – Saturday, December 04, 2010, 20:25 (GMT+7)

The demand for traveling during Christmas and Western New Year’s holiday are high because they fall on weekends, according to several travel agencies.

At present, short-day tours to Central Vietnam, Southeast Asian countries, and China have attracted a lot of visitors, though the price for such a tour has increased by $20 to $80 US.

According to Nguyen Thi Huyen, Deputy Director of Vietran Tour, most of the travelers have booked for Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong (China), and Thailand. The increased service charge and the shortage of accommodations during the end of the year made the fare for such a tour increase by $20 to $60 US compared to other times of the year.

At Vietran Tour, a four-day tour to Hong Kong charges $698 US; a five-day tour to Thailand costs $379 US, depending on the departure day. Tours to Singapore and Myanmar for four days costs $609 and $549 US, respectively.

A representative from Vietran Tour said that it might run out of tours during Christmas and Western New Year while airfares and hotel rooms are limited.

Meanwhile, Hanoi Redtour has increased its price for outbound tours by 3 to 5 percent, compared to normal days. Visitors have chosen Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Singapore, and Malaysia mostly due to big promotion programs there.

Hanoi Redtour is expected to take around 1,000 visitors to tour foreign countries and 500 visitors to tour around Vietnam. Its seven-day tour to Singapore and Malaysia charges $669 US. A four-day tour to Singapore and Hong Kong-Disneyland costs $599 and $679 US, respectively.

Also, on this occasion, Vietravel has launched 9-day tours around Europe and America combining it with a get-together with a family living abroad.

Meanwhile, prices for inbound tours seem not to have increased. According to Hanoi Redtour, a tour to DaNang-Hoi An, Lang Co for four days charges 4.6 million VND; Nha Trang-Dalat for five days costs 5.8 million VND; DaLat for four days costs 5.2 million VND.

During Christmas and Western New Year’s holidays, Fiditour offers a discount program for tours to Con Dao and Phu Quoc with a price of 2.2 million VND for 50 inbound tours each day.

Source: Vnexpress

Translated by Mai Huong

Source: QDND

Various tours for Christmas holidays

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

Various tours for Christmas holidays

QĐND – Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 21:7 (GMT+7)

Many travel agencies have introduced interesting domestic and foreign tours to meet higher demands of tourists during Christmas and the New Year holidays.

The Ben Thanh Tourist Company has launched special domestic tours, of two or three days each, costing from VND 2 to 3 million, excluding air tickets, from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Can Tho and Vinh Long. 

In addition, there are also several tours to Central provinces such as Danang, Hue and Quang Binh. In particular, the travel agency offers 5%-10% discount for customers buying tours this December.

On the occasion of the opening of a non-stop air route from Ho Chi Minh City to Beijing, TST TOURIST Company has also launched promotional tours to Beijing and Shanghai for customers to celebrate Christmas and the New Year holiday in China, along with other interesting tours to Thailand.

Source: NLD

Translated by Duy Minh

Source: QDND

Countdown to Christmas with million-dollar advent calendar

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 3:52 am